#295 Location based snacks

Stuff that belly.

It’s time to enjoy some location based tastiness with some location based snacks:

• Massive bag of wet popcorn at the movies. Squirt some hot buttery-like substance on that corn get ready to chomp through the previews. Now, there are two possible endings to this story — dropping the three-quarters full bag to your feet after five minutes and cursing yourself for getting too much, or getting your hands and face disgustingly greasy while powermunching your way to the burnt kernels at the bottom.

• Assorted bag of no-name brand chips on an airplane. It’s all about the airplane snack that was made by that no-name company specializing in tiny bags of freezing cold Fritos knockoffs.
• Hot dog at the ballgame. Load that crispy-skinned wiener up with toppings and get ready to chow down with a big cup of suds before the first pitch. Soak up those afternoon rays and enjoy the ballpark air as your tastebuds start sizzling. It’s well worth the seventh inning heartburn.
• Pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. When you’re finished your third helping of mashed potatoes it’s time to make room for of a thick slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Undo your belt buckle and let the buttons pop because it’s time to let it all out … before stuffing it all in.
• Orange Julius at the mall when you’re in the middle of shopping with your girlfriend. It is illegal to drink Orange Julius anywhere else so grab a big straw and pray for relief.
• Funnel cake at the amusement park. “Hey, are we about to spin upside down on the roller coasters, crash into each other in bumper cars, and run around a pitch black haunted house? Cool, just lemme load my stomach up with a giant paper plate full of deep fried dough first.”
• Roasted marshmallows at the campfire. Oven baked marshmallows in front of the fireplace channel just isn’t as good.
• Anything the parents won’t notice is missing while you’re babysitting. After you put the kids to bed it’s all about snagging a handful of chocolate chips, diving into the open bag of chips, or taking a few spoonfuls of ice cream and then smoothing over the top so it looks like nobody was there.
Yes, location based snacks are great because they only come around once in a while. After all, ballpark franks and deep-fried funnel cakes might get boring every day but as little blips of tastiness they do the job just fine. So next time you’re racing around the mall, running around the fair, or finishing a giant family dinner over the holidays make sure you take the time to relax … indulge those hunger attacks … and enjoy some mouthwatering location based snacks.
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#297 Singing the national anthem in a big crowd

We start as strangers.

Pushing into sweaty stadiums for the ballgame or splitting into opposites sides of the soccer pitch always feels like we’re getting ready to battle, getting ready to fight, and getting ready to cheer. Grab your flag, pump your fist, and finish that beer as we all amp up for the big game.

And that’s why it’s a beautiful moment when the national anthem hits the speakers and slices through the crowd. Suddenly we all stop for a minute and swish and swirl together …  standing beside each other, singing the same song, proud of our home country, and all just standing strong…


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#298 Successfully giving someone directions in your home town

I ain’t good at much.

Seriously, when it comes to cooking I tend to burn toast, overcook pasta, and drown my cereal in white. Sports wise, I’ve been picked last in everything I’ve played — a broken-glasses freeze frame of me getting pegged in the forehead with a dodgeball would accurately represent my athletic career. And I hate to admit it but I’m a bit messy, too. Old roommates will tell you I leave dishes in the sink for days, somehow smear toothpaste on bathroom mirrors, and consider dust mites friendly little fellas who just need a good home.

I’m not good at much.

But I tell you, I tell you if there is one thing I am good at then it’s gotta be knowing where I live.

Yes, you can’t trip me up on that one. Zip code, street address, what’s your question, fool? I’m all over that like a fly on … fly tape. I know my streets, I know my shortcuts, I know my city, I know it well. North, south, east, west, tell me where you getting and I’ll get you there the best.

And shortest.

Way possible.

Point is, I love it when someone asks me directions in my home town.

Jacques Cousteau don’t know which big time call gets you to the power mall. Marco Polo can’t show you that secret shortcut driveway that gets to the highway. And Hernando Cortes don’t know the shortest route to take if you’re heading for a picnic down by the lake.

Only we can.

Because we live here.

And we’re


Guess what? A new Book of Awesome Kid’s Book comes out this Fall! Here’s the old trailer for fun…

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#300 Successfully navigating your home in the dark like a ninja

Welcome to the dark.

It’s time to assess your nightwalking skills, young warrior:

Level 1: Fresh soldier. You’ve got confidence to try getting around in the dark but you’re just no good yet. Maybe you moved into a new place and are stubbing your toes on walls, stepping on your cat, and constantly flipping bathroom fans instead of light switches. You get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and end up in the laundry room or linen closet with your arms straight out. Purple war wounds on your thighs and broken toes from the fridge mean it’s time to keep

Level 2: Human Roomba. Your confidence keeps growing and now you’re finger feeling your way down hallways and into kitchen cupboards by the light of the alarm clock, cell phone, or full moon. This is the level where you first attempt stairs with one or two hands firmly on the banister. You may also successfully avoid strange objects in your path here — like ironing boards, rogue ottomans, or a random diaper bag. Don’t forget to hum softly and bounce off the walls.

Level 3: Kitchen Ninja. There’s no moon in the sky and clouds cover all the stars. You’re alone in the zone of blackness… but you don’t care. Nope, you’re breezing down hallways and through doors without using your hands and you’re smacking light switches on walls like you’re William Tell shooting apples off heads. Ninja mastery is complete when you manage to make an entire snack in the dark including the final challenge: spreading peanut butter or Nutella on toast.

Yes, successfully navigating your home in the dark is an important life skill that takes time to master. You start with getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom but over the years you eventually turn into Al Pacino from Scent of a Woman.

The only step after this is evolving to use some sort of sonar like a dolphin or bat.

It could happen.


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#301 Unpacking the very last box

Packed boxes are ghosts.

After you move into your shiny new place those cardboard demons haunt your hallways and basements for months and months and months. You see them hiding behind drain pipes in the storage room, lingering between boots in the closet, and even subbing in for missing furniture. (Seriously, I can’t be the only one with a corrugated bedside table.)

Now see, that’s why it’s so satisfying when you finally unpack the last one. Throw those VHS tapes on a bookshelf, stash the gravy boat in the cupboard, and drop them baby clothes in a donation bin.

You just exorcised your demons of laziness.


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#302 Grandma hair


You’re a walking talking Grandma.

Well, if you made it this far then I think life’s treated you pretty gosh-darned well. You got born into a brave new world full of possibilities and you grew up and grew into someone who’s managed to spread their life, ideas, and sensibilities deep and down into future generations so they can keep our planet spinning and spinning into better places.

Lean back on that creaky rocker and smile in the dusty sunbeams by the window as you survey your grand ol’ time getting to be a grand ol’ Gram. You played with dolls, you shopped in malls, and now that you’re finally here it’s not time to chide nature for those cruel fates of wrinkly skin, poor vision, and gray hair, no!

No! No! No! No! No!

No, now’s the time to love it lots because that long life gave you all that you gots.

Grandma hair is any beautifully manicured mane of white hair bundled into buns and bunches right on top of Grandma’s cute and dainty head. It can be hidden under a flower hat, permed out in cottony waves, or hanging like Christmas tree tinsel in long shimmery strands.

Grandma hair is a sign of seeing things. It’s a sign of wisdom. And it’s a sign that Grandma’s ridden some long roads in life so now she gets to look beautiful at the end of it. When you get old enough to have a beautifully bright white swirl of Grandma hair it sure is time to say thanks.

Thanks for a life full of love, thanks for a life full of laughs, thanks for a life filled all the way up with


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#304 Staring deeply into a fire

Check out the sun.

It’s just a big ball of fire swirling high in the sky.

Plants, heat, life, pretty sunsets — damn girl, that’s some good deals for free.

Yes, we owe a lot to that friendly fireball so it’s no wonder one of the Greatest Things We Ever Did was make fire in its likeness here on Earth. So first up, let’s just stop for a moment today and close our eyes to say “Good job, Cavemen.”

Now these days whether you’re sitting on a wet log around a smoky campfire, cuddling on the couch on Christmas eve, or cooking up dinner on the grill, it sure is easy to get mesmerized by the flames.

Stare into the red hot heat as it crackles and pops before your eyes. Watch as licks and curls unfurl and swirl in a twisted dance of fiery flames. Let the heat wash over you as those beautiful shapes flicker in a neverending show of lights. There is a rhythm and beat to the movement but at the same time it’s just… natural and free.

Staring into a fire warms your eyes… and your heart. Sometimes it comes with tea and hot chocolate, squished slippers, and good conversation. Sometimes it comes with ocean waves and wind whispering through trees under a dimming pink sky. Sometimes it comes at the cottage, sometimes it comes at the park, sometimes it comes in the morning, sometimes it comes when its dark…

But whenever you’re lucky enough to transplant your brain to the center of the flames it’s always an escape from the world… and always an escape into


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